I have now seen a few of the Fox Kitchen Nightmares and a few of the BBC Ramsey's Kitchen. Interesting to see the differences when it is clearly the same show just sailed across the Atlantic. How much, one wonders, was Gordon just a hired gun on each and how much say did he have in the focus and style?
In the Fox shows I have seen, there is always a mano-a-mano confrontation between Chef Ramsey and a macho hothead--or the opposite, a spineless wonder who develops guts and self-respect under Gordon's tutelage. The hothead usually cools and is chastised or is exiled. There seems always to be a near-fatal contamination of foodstuffs and equipment which Gordo must roll up his sleeves to cleanse. At Fox's expense, we assume, the place is cleaned and remodeled and reopened with Ramsey's menu. Then in a restaurant newly transformed to success, the remaining staff/owners/managers praise the genius of G.R. as having saved their bacon. And their vegetables and roasts, too. We do not see him flying off silhouetted against a full moon, cape billowing in the breeze, but it would not be out of place. (I was especially tickled by the postscript on one episode where we learned that two months after the Gordon-metamorphosis to some kind of success, the owners sold the place; he should have demanded a piece of the realtor's fee.)
The original BBC version is not without the conflict and face-off, as well as mold and layers of grease, but Ramsey seems more like a smart guy who wants to help the feckless restaurateur save his/her place. Certainly he is the hero, but not a comic book superhero; and, there is more often some real affection shown between the saved and the savior.
I have to admit that I enjoy them both, however.